Amazon’s Prime Day 2020 will start on Oct. 13


Angela Lang/CNET

Amazon’s Prime Day is finally coming. The annual sale event will kick off in the US on Tuesday, Oct. 13, according to four people with knowledge of Amazon’s plans.

In preparation for the sale, Amazon has already blacked out vacation for its full-time warehouse workers from Oct. 13-20. The news fits with earlier statements from Amazon that confirmed the closely followed online event would take place in the fourth quarter.

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An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the date. “Stay tuned for more details on Prime Day,” the spokesperson said. “Customers can also say, ‘Alexa, keep me posted on Prime Day.'”

The people CNET spoke with were unable to say how long the sale would last. Last year, Amazon extended Prime Day to 48 hours from 36 hours the year before. Prime Day was held in India this year on Aug. 6-7.

Like just about everything else in 2020, Prime Day was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The sale typically takes place in mid-July as a way to boost revenue during an otherwise slow summer retail season. Amazon delayed the event, however, as the retailer struggled to retrofit its sprawling logistics operations to handle both a surge in online orders and dozens of protocols designed to keep its warehouse workers safe.

The changes delayed shipments for months. After delivery times improved, Amazon had the ability to forge ahead with Prime Day.

Amazon likely will have lots of new and updated gadgets and services of its own to pitch to consumers on Prime Day: This Thursday, Sept. 24, the company will host its annual fall product launch. There’s no indication as yet of what exactly to expect, but it’s safe to assume that Alexa-equipped gear will take center stage. Last year’s event brought gear including the Echo Dot with a Clock, the Echo Flex plug-in mini-speaker and peripherals including Echo Buds and the Echo Glow nightlight.

The new date for Prime Day alters the dynamics of the event. Many Prime customers may end up buying their holiday gifts earlier than usual because the sale will be held much closer to the year’s end. Still, Amazon isn’t expected to eat into its holiday season sales by holding Prime Day so late because its sales during the pandemic have been substantially higher than usual, and that trend isn’t expected to stop anytime soon.

Brick-and-mortar retailers, though, may see a noticeable benefit from Prime Day since dozens of them usually promote their own discounts in parallel with Prime Day. This year has been especially difficult for traditional retailers, as lockdowns shuttered their locations for a chunk of the year and many customers have avoided going into stores. That’s forced many retailers into bankruptcy protection, including J.Crew, Pier 1 and JCPenney. 

Likewise, the millions of smaller merchants that list their products on Amazon should also see a boost from Prime Day.

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